By Jack Sharkey, March 9, 2017

Rocket Man is part of the collective conscience of everyone born after 1930 or so. For forty-five years this song has been unavoidable, because it's that good. But just like every other thing in our lives that starts out special and ends up ubiquitous, we kind of tune out and take whatever (or whoever) it is for granted.


We've heard the song through so many different systems and platforms that we all think we know it by heart, but do we? Here's a look at the soundstage of Rocket Man that might tell us what we've been missing (or taking for granted).


Elton John's band was pretty straight-forward in the early days: piano, drums, bass, guitar. In the recording studio they typically stuck pretty close to that instrumental line-up with a few overdubs here and there just to make things interesting. 


Take a couple of listens to this old classic and re-introduce yourself to a timeless production that serves the simple virtuosity of the musicians – it’ll be like connecting with an old friend.

Elton John Rocket Man Soundstage

What to Listen For

Intro: Single piano and dry vocal.

0:28: Bass

0:42: Hi-Hat (stick)

0:56: Full band (Backing vocals very soft in middle on top of lead vocals)

1:12: Slide guitar

1:15: Backing vocals "Rocket Man" notice arc created by vocal technique and panning that makes vocals appear to fly to rear of soundstage

2:14: Synthesizer (predominant in right channel)

2:22: Synthesizer (doubled in both channels)

4:03: Cellos (right to center)




This deconstruction was done with a pair of active LS50 speakers and a the Red Book 1995 re-mastering of the original streamed via J-River.